Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Learning From My Experiences in Germany

Over the past Christmas Break, I visited my sister who lives in Germany, and one of the German phrases she taught me was, “Ich can kine Deutsch,” which means, “I can’t speak German,” in case there might have been a time where she wasn’t with me and someone spoke to me.

One day we went to her town’s community pool, because back home the swim team was practicing every day during the break and I didn’t want to return extremely out of shape, and someone in the pool started talking to me. Evidently replying in perfect German, I stammered “Ich can kine Deutsch,” to which the lady marveled, “Ohh,” smirked, and then continued talking. All I was left to do was to answer “Ya” to everything she said, until she swam away. It was an interesting experience, and one that I can definitely learn from when communicating with my father.

No human being with a mind capable of sound reason can accept the absurd things he says—much less follow them with mindless obedience, considering the fact that he is always unwilling to share the logic behind his madness. As his daughter, however, I am required to honor my father and mother by my faith, therefore it is sin against me to defy what he says. It is interesting that this is one of the Ten Commandments, the ten axioms of all morality in all philosophies, and moreover the only commandment that offers a reward (“...so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land.” Deuteronomy 5:16). I have now realized the true wisdom behind the emphasis of this seemingly unimportant rule. Honoring them and what they say is the only way to keep the peace in any household, and it seems that children really have absolutely no reason--aside from ironically having to be the bigger person in the situation--to honor everything they say, therefore a reward must provided for our efforts. One could say this reward is what is offered before the law was fulfilled through Christ, pre-Blessed-are-those-who-are-persecuted-for-righteousness’-sake-for-theirs-is-the-kingdom-of-heaven. Indeed, persecuted for nothing other than righteousness.

It is true that perhaps children in this day and age are not as obedient as those in past generations, but I do not think that this parent-and-child dynamic has transformed very much over the course of human civilization. I suspect that parents and children have always clashed and misunderstood each other, even in Old Testament periods, and always will. The parents are the authority figures, however, so in the end there is not much the child can do but simply obey the stubbornness of parents. Yes, I will admit, parents are right many times, and I usually only realize this years later, but I do think that my reasoning has become more sound over the years, and that if parents took a moment to truly explain their motives with their children, they would see that we also make good points and can also be right. My father in particular is very sensitive and jumps to conclusions regarding the most insignificant actions, therefore it would do him well to hear the other side of the story before automatically assuming that a family member giving me a gift is a direct threat against him. But he will not.

The only compromise that I have found between obeying my father and mother and accepting their absurdity is to mindlessly accept and agree with what they say and never think twice about it. I am also stubborn, so this has been hard for me, regardless of always knowing that this is what I ought to do. Now I have found an easier method with which to apply this, which requires a bit of imagination, which is always good. The same way I could do nothing but reply dumbfoundedly to the German woman “Ya,” despite having no idea what she was saying, I should treat what my father says as a foreign language, because his logic is extremely foreign and he in fact feeds entirely off of emotion. The only way to finally get him to swim away with a smirk is to answer “yes,” “okay,” “I will,” to everything and anything he says. Otherwise, he will drown in the torrent of his wild emotions and [ir]rationality, and as a lifeguard, my professional obligation is to prevent that.


  1. I wish more teenagers would be as mature as you are in this post about this issue. It is often hard to understand our parents, and honoring them can be a challenge, but God has His reasons and often, looking back, we do find that our parents were right (but not 100% of the time :)

  2. Hahaha, totally mature saying "I should just treat what they say like a foreign language." But at least I figured out His reason for that commandment =P

  3. Excellently written. I can relate to a certain degree. Hang in there. In the meantime, ibn el ta'a teHel 'aleh al baraka.

    I'm not so good at comment-writing.

  4. You mean bint. =P No, it was a rather witty comment; even without the witty part it was still appreciated. Don't underestimate your commenting capabilities.